World Cup final 2014: These players to help Man City boast more WC winners?

first_img1 Argentina team before the semi-final win against the Netherlands This feature appears in the current edition of Sport magazine. Download the latest issue from the Apple newsstand and follow them on Twitter @SportmagukArgentina would love nothing more than to lift the trophy in the footballing temple of their bitterest foes. Here’s Sport’s guide to the South American’s 2014 World Cup final team.Sergio RomeroMonaco, 27 years old53 capsCame into the tournament on the back of a domestic season in which he made only three Ligue 1 appearances for Monaco. That was enough to see him given the inevitable epithet ‘dodgy’, but Argentina are yet to concede a goal in the knockout stages and Romero saved two Dutch penalties in the semi-final shootout. High on confidence, then, but will probably need to be.Pablo ZabaletaManchester City, 2942 caps Hasn’t been at his marauding best at this World Cup, and took a Dirk Kuyt shoulder full in the jaw in extra-time on Wednesday. Zabaleta is made of strong stuff, though, and will be ready for the likely challenge of facing up to Thomas Muller in Sunday’s final.Marcos RojoSporting CP, 2427 caps, 1 goalThe young left-back has outshone his more illustrious counterpart on the right in Brazil, breaking forward more regularly and looking surprisingly solid in defence. Scored against Nigeria, missed the quarter-final win over Belgium through suspension, but returned to some effect in the semi.Martin DemichelisManchester City, 3340 caps, 2 goalsNot renowned as a bastion of solidity at Manchester City, but the veteran centre-half has added experience and composure to the Argentina defence since being brought in to replace Federico Fernandez against Belgium. Like Samson in reverse, has seemingly improved for having his flowing locks chopped off – and likely to make the starting line-up in the Maracana.Ezequiel GarayZenit St Petersburg, 2724 capsUnderstated leader of Argentina’s surprisingly solid defence, Garay has tackled tough and – more crucially – intercepted swiftly and smartly at this World Cup. Also made a semi-final clearance when he was actually holding his boot in one hand. Bootiful stuff.Javier MascheranoBarcelona, 30104 caps, 3 goalsProbably the man of the match in the semi final (despite spending a small portion of the game unconscious), Mascherano is the engine of Argentina’s midfield. Will need to be at his busy best if he’s to get among Germany’s slick midfielders and disrupt their rapid passing game.Lucas BigliaLazio, 2825 caps Bustling, buck-toothed Biglia wasn’t in the starting line-up going into this World Cup, but the central midfielder impressed off the bench in the second round against Switzerland. He has started both matches since and while it’s his workrate that catches the eye, he’s also threaded through several neat passes in attack.Enzo PerezBenfica, 2810 caps, 1 goalIt’s Perez or Angel di Maria in midfield, with di Maria (at time of press) looking unlikely to be fit. The 2013-14 Portuguese league player of the season can match di Maria for dash and industry, even if Perez isn’t the equal of the Real Madrid man when it comes to goalscoring prowess.Ezequiel LavezziParis Saint-Germain, 2936 caps, 4 goalsAnother Argentine who wasn’t a first-choice selection at the start of the tournament but who’s grown into the team. A neat link-up man who was arguably Argentina’s best attacking option in the semi final (against little-to-no competition), his job will be to find the gaps in Germany’s defence.Lionel Messi (captain)Barcelona, 2792 caps, 42 goalsHas struggled to find either space or form in two games since setting up Angel di Maria’s late winner against Switzerland in the last 16, and will almost certainly find a certain Herr Schweinsteiger in his face at every turn on Sunday. But this is Lionel Messi, the Greatest Player in the World™. The script is written for him to have his say on the biggest stage of all, right?Gonzalo HiguainNapoli, 2642 caps, 21 goalsA mixed bag of a World Cup for the Napoli striker who finally looked to have found his scoring touch in the quarter final versus Belgium, but then frustrated against the Netherlands. Needs to offer better movement if he’s to get in behind Germany’s high-line defence. A lethal finisher at best, mind.The benchHe hasn’t looked fit since November, but that might not stop Sergio Aguero having an impact from the sidelines here. The strange rat-tail of Rodrigo Palacio can also be backed to appear if Argentina need to chase the game, with Boca Juniors midfielder Fernando Gago a likelier option if Alejandro Sabella wants to shut up shop.The 2014 World Cup final is live on talkSPORT at 8pm on Sunday 13 Julylast_img read more